Ashton Park by Murray Pura

This book is the first in what will be a series, The Danforths of Lancashire.  What attracted me to it was the way that it says (right on the book!) that “If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you’ll enjoy your visit to Ashton Park”.  As a huge fan of Downton, I thought “what better book could there be than this one??”  While I did see quite a few similarities between the book and Downton Abbey, overall, I wasn’t nearly as impressed as I had expected to be.  But that could be partially my fault, because I love Downton Abbey, and it can be hard when you start reading a book with the expectation that it will draw you in like a tv show does (or has). 

The Danforth family has seven children – three sons and four daughters.  Throughout the book, you are being taken through parts of each of their lives – the parents, the seven kids, the extended family, and even the household staff.  I had to refer to the Character List at the front of the book more than once in order to keep everyone straight – thankfully for me, the list was there! 

The book is filled with love stories, with betrayal, with honor, with lives saved, and lives lost.  You go with each of the sons to their war posts, with each of the daughters through their friendships/relationships, with the household help through their jobs (and their love stories as well!), and you watch as family members fight to do what is right – even when others may not agree with their definitions of “right”. 

Overall, it was a good story, but I don’t know that I will be seeking out the next book in the series.  I’m a big fan of historical fiction, I just felt like there were too many stories within the larger story of this book.  It made it hard to follow what was happening, no matter how hard I tried.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review, and was asked to give my honest opinion of it.  The thoughts and comments expressed here are solely my own. 


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